A couple of months ago, I was one of a handful of selected bloggers chosen to review a mid-week break at Bluestone National Park Resort in Pembrokeshire, Wales.
An opportunity that really couldn’t be missed, you can imagine I was very excited when I heard about it and eagerly applied – cue even more excitement when I was selected! There would be 3-4 bloggers and their families each week throughout June, enjoying a mid-week stay. It was great to stay the same week as two of my best blogging friends but we didn’t get much time to see each other with so much to do!
I love holidaying in the UK but had never visited Wales – Steve had though and had often visited his aunt nearby so although the journey was long and tiring, we didn’t get lost! We left very early and had planned to be there around 3.30pm, however we had to stop at Steve’s parents on the way which put us behind on time.
We finally arrived at around 5.30pm and checked in with ease – the booking office is literally as you drive in, you give them your name and they give you your access card and a welcome booklet – which I obviously read as soon as I possibly could. We took our car down to the lodge and unloaded all our stuff before quickly popping to the supermarket off site to pick up a few bits. We then dropped our groceries off at the lodge before driving back to the long stay car park where it would remain until the end of our holiday apart from a few trips off site.
We dropped the car off at the long stay car park on the first night and took a little walk through The Village to see what activities and amenities they had to offer. As the time was getting quite late, we didn’t do much but popped into The Tavern for a quick bite to eat. The food in The Tavern was very reasonably priced (there are a selection of restaurants but this is the most affordable in price) and was extremely tasty – Steve even proclaimed their creamy mash to possibly be the best he had ever tasted!
The next morning saw a bright and early start as we went to take another look around the village and get immersed in some of the activities. Jack was a little too young for some but there were some things he loved. Before we left, Kerry and her family popped round to say hi – and Jack and Amelia were very cute together! Check out my Instagram for a cute video of the two of them.
After they left, we took a leisurely stroll down to the village. We visited the bakery first of all – Jack wanted to buy absolutely everything – but we settled for some simple food. The staff were really lovely and attentive and this ensured we went back numerous times during our stay.
Knowing we would possibly go off site one day to test out the activities nearby, we took a quick detour into the offices to see if they had any leaflets…as you can see, they had loads! We had planned to use a buggy to get around the site but unfortunately they were booked up for the whole week – so I would definitely suggest booking one before your trip!
The treehouse and adjoining park were big hits with Jack – and most of the other children staying at the park, it seems. We didn’t get to spend as much time here as we would have liked but it was nice to see something that catered to children of all ages – Jack would have stayed there all week if we had let him!
On the Tuesday afternoon, we decided to pop over to the Adventure Centre as it seemed to be suitable for ages. Indeed, we saw older children scaling the rock climbing walls and teetering on the ropes high above our heads but Jack, Max and Amelia were more than happy to play in the ball pit, explore the treehouses with us parents (to great comedic effect!) and their particular favourite, play with the lego and huge Connect 4. I tell you, put any child in front of lego and they will be happy for ages!
We kept meaning to pop to the Blue Lagoon waterpark but we didn’t have time to fit everything in on our mini break – the day we wanted to go was the day it poured down with rain so we decided to visit the zoo instead rather than splash about in the wet only to dry off and venture out into the wet again. We did take advantage of the train service throughout the week though when our tired legs couldn’t carry us any further – our lodge was one of the furthest away from the car park so you can imagine that it took a while to walk there – after all, Bluestone is a big resort! The views were breathtaking though!
Of course, sometimes we just wanted to chill out in our lodge and as you can see, we had plenty of room to do so. Our lodge was based right by the lake which meant we had a beautiful view to look out onto – but it also meant some visitors in the morning in the form of a flock of ducks. The people staying in the lodge next door often fed the ducks their leftover bread so of course, when they saw us devouring some toast in the morning with our curtains wide open – they wanted in! Jack was very amused by them and it was quite nice to know we had little visitors to wake up to every morning.
We took a walk around the lake a few times but didn’t do it too often due to the sheer number of baby frogs hopping around – we saw plenty of squashed frogs and we had to keep watching the ground very closely for fear of stepping on one. Steve helped a few back onto the grass near the water but there were just too many of them!
The lodge itself was very spacious and I have no real complaints – only that the lodges aren’t very child friendly in some respects. Bluestone have plenty of activities for children but all the kitchen drawers were easily accessible and the oven was a simple tap on which Jack could reach – potentially very dangerous. Luckily, we kept our eyes on him at all times but I do believe that is something that could possibly be addressed.
All in all, I was very impressed with the site and plan to go back very soon, as soon as finances will allow. We were very impressed with the activities available, the amenities on offer (the bakery and The Tavern pub in particular!), the scenery was amazing and the staff were extremely friendly. Although we plan to go back soon with Jack, I also plan to go when he is a lot older so he can really take part in some of the other activities they have to offer – there is such an extensive list such as rock climbing, archery and much, much more!
If I had to find anything negative to say about Bluestone, it would be the lack of toddler proofing in some of the lodges plus the lack of buggies available – we will definitely be booking in advance next time! Overall, we had a very positive experience and plan to visit again very soon.
(A mid-week break stay in a Caldey Lodge from Mon-Fri in July 2014 is roughly £899 although this price will vary at different times of year)
We were given free accommodation and access to some activities for the purpose of this review